All Have Fallen Short: The Second Option
Christian thoughts on governance and society
II. Tyranny, to sustain itself and not fall into revolution (and anarchy), requires a certain recipe. Follow:
1). The tyrant (s) must exercise all or as much control over information as possible. It is imperative that people only hear what is positive in support of the tyranny. People need to believe they live in the best possible world. All dissent, of course, must be stifled, and the best (most effective) way to do this is by social sanction.
In America, the term is “Politically Correct.” It is a thin cover for liberal thinking. Everyone knows this, yet it has millions too frightened to express an alternative point of view. In fact, the incorrect points of view are rapidly being labeled as “Hate Crimes” and the most racist, prejudiced, bigoted points of view are held up as typical examples of “the other side.” All “Politically Incorrect” views are being painted with the same broad brush to silence them. That is the key. To silence them.
This is all very Big Brother – very Orwellian, and George Orwell understood these principles well. For him, it was not political correctness but “Newspeak.” Evil was called good, war was called peace, losing was called winning. We talk instead about things like “fairness,” “environmental justice,” “social justice” and the like, but you will note these terms are defined by those in power who seek only to retain power. Whatever the people need in the way of information that keeps the powers in power, that is what they get.
2). Education must be transformed into indoctrination. Everyone knows you have to get them when they are young. This might be considered a sub-category of information control, because it is not just the internet, which you will note is giving hives to every totalitarian regime around the world, but control of what goes to the young in the form of education. The Bible puts it very well. “Raise up a child in the way he should go and when he is old he will not depart from it.” (For those who may be Bible haters, let me rephrase it: Get them when they are young and you will still have them when they are old).
Hitler had his youth. Lenin emphasized the education of the young and turned all curriculum matters over to the party. China under Mao had its model schools, though everyone in the west felt sure the children were being indoctrinated with propaganda as much as educated. The Soviets even invented the “reeducation” process where adults could be taught to think, believe and act the way they should.
Of course, any who could not be properly educated or reeducated had to be removed “for the good of society.” Thus the death camps, the Gulag, the Cultural Revolution and the Killing Fields of Cambodia. Guillotine!
3). In order to provide a safe and secure society (so they say) the tyrant (s) must gain as much control over human interaction as possible. It can approve of gay marriage as Western Europe and the United States are doing, or it can stone gays to death as the Islamic world is doing. The key is to get people to conform and the only way to do that is to exercise control. And our capacity to micro-manage people has become frightening.
The most important area to control at least for the last couple hundred years and up to the present is economic interactions. That is why tyrants are enamored with socialism. It puts all the eggs in one basket – the government basket, whether that is national socialism (fascism) or international socialism (communism), it amounts to the same thing. The better the government can control the money, the easier it is to tell people where they can and cannot go, what they can and cannot do, what they must and must not be. People need shelter, clothing and food, and for the last 100-200 years that means money. Most of the human race, at least in the developed world, is no longer self-sufficient.
4). So for any tyranny to be successful, it must control the flow of information, education and (at a minimum) economic activity. There are ways to do all of this easily enough, but there are two elements to the recipe that must be added as well. First, the tyrant (s) must both disarm the population and maintain sufficient force to crush all dissent. Thus the army in so many third world countries, kept in tow with special privileges and bribes. Thus the KGB or its equivalent around the world. Thus Barak Obama’s call for a national police force of equal power, funding and strength to the pentagon. (I’m not advocating. I’m just reporting).
Thus, also, the repeated calls for gun-control, and framing the debate in such a way that millions of well-meaning people are caught up in agreement without realizing the full ramifications of what they are agreeing to. It would be a wonderful world without guns, but it is also an easy and rather large step towards true tyranny. Would that it were not so.
5). The final element in the recipe is illusion. Specifically, it is giving the people the illusion that they have some say in the matter. In the West (and now many places around the world) there are elections where people presumably choose their leaders. But those leaders, like the President of Iran, are often figureheads with the real power resting elsewhere. In Iran’s case, it rests in the hands of the clerics, but in most times and places throughout history, it has rested in the hands of unelected bureaucrats.
Even in the United States, most of the real power rests, not in the law, but in the rules and regulations designed and enforced by government “employees.” And here we see that tyranny need not have a Hitler-like tyrant at the top. Once big enough, the government alone in all its divisions, departments and so on can easily become tyrannical. To overcome this kind of tyranny requires elected officials with the will and legal means to fire government employees and to throw out rules and regulations, or at least rewrite them.
NOTE I am not advocating making anyone unemployed. I am just asking, when the unelected hold such enormous power over our daily lives, what are the alternatives?
To be sure, there is a third alternative between anarchy and tyranny. Next Wednesday…